Scotland threaten World Cup organisers with legal action as typhoon threat looms

Luke BradshawSports Writer
SRU Chief Executive Mark Dodson (Credit: Getty Images)
SRU Chief Executive Mark Dodson (Credit: Getty Images)

Scotland could take legal action against rugby’s global governing body if their crucial World Cup match against Japan is cancelled.

The contest with host nation Japan could fall victim to Typhoon Hagibis, which is set to wreak havoc across the country in the coming days.

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Scotland’s hopes of reaching the knock-out phase of the competition rest on the outcome of the match, currently scheduled to take place in Yokohama on Sunday.

Rugby World Cup organisers (Credit: Getty Images)
Rugby World Cup organisers (Credit: Getty Images)

Tournament organisers will make a decision on Scotland’s match on Sunday morning local time, while Ireland’s match against Samoa in Fukuoka on Saturday is also in the balance.

Japan currently top Pool A on 14 points, with the Scots in third place, four points behind. Both teams still have the chance to qualify, but if the game is called off they would receive two points each and Scotland could be knocked out of the tournament as a result.

World Rugby stated: “Where a pool match cannot be commenced on the day in which it is scheduled, it shall not be postponed to the following day and shall be considered as cancelled. In such situations, the result shall be allocated two points each and no score registered".

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On BBC Radio 4, SRU chief executive Mark Dodson responded: "For World Rugby to simply state that the game has to be cancelled goes against the whole sporting integrity of the tournament.

"World Rugby have pointed us back to the participation agreement and that it is clearly stated there. We've had a legal opinion and then we've taken a leading sports QC opinion in London that challenges that and unravels the World Rugby case."

Dodson also believes that World Rugby aren’t properly considering or exploring the potential of moving the game to a different venue.

Two games, England’s encounter with France, and New Zealand versus Italy, have already been cancelled due to the potential danger caused by the typhoon. At a press conference held by World Rugby, displayed satellite images revealed that the typhoon is the same size as Japan and will hit the east coast of the country over the weekend.

Italy captain Sergio Parisse has already called the decision to cancel his side’s match against the All Blacks ‘ridiculous’. He said: “It is difficult to know that we won’t have the chance to play a match against one of the great teams. If New Zealand needed four or five points against us it would not have been cancelled.

“It is ridiculous that a decision of this nature has been made because it isn’t like the fans arrived yesterday. It is ridiculous that there was no plan B, because it isn’t news that typhoons hit Japan.”

England coach Eddie Jones, however, has been more relaxed about the affair. Despite his team’s game against France being one of the cancelled matches, both teams had already qualified, so the resulting outcome has had far less impact.

He said: “I think the Japanese have a saying, ‘shogun-hi’ - we can’t control it. Who would have thought we would have two relatively easy games, one tough game and then two weeks to prepare for a quarter-final? So someone is smiling on us – the typhoon gods, maybe?”

England head coach Eddie Jones (Credit: Getty Images)
England head coach Eddie Jones (Credit: Getty Images)

Jones also poked fun at the Scottish situation by implying that their destiny could have been in their own hands.

He said: “We’ve been talking about it all the time, about the possibility that this was going to happen. You know what’s going to happen. It’s typhoon season here and you’ve got to be prepared for it.

“We had an idea it could happen and therefore you have to accumulate points in your games to put yourself in the right position in case that happened.”

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